Project Description

Nina Smith

Age: 3/09/1961
Skin: Burungu
Language: Tom Price
Tribe: Gurrama

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Nina Smith was born in Wittenoom in 1961 and lived there until she was five. She then moved to join her older brothers and sisters at the Roebourne hostel/school. Her parents’ work allowed them to move to Roebourne in the late 1950s and Nina has lived here ever since. Nina started painting in the first half of 2010. She had been a frequent visitor to Yinjaa-Barni Art, spending time watching her artist friends and family painting, until she was finally inspired to take up the brush herself.

Nina now finds painting relaxing, saying it makes her use her imagination, especially when she is trying to decide what she would like to paint and how to translate her ideas onto canvas. Nina is not a great believer in doing dot painting to express her ideas as she feels dotting is not personally or culturally relevant for her. She has experimented with a variety of techniques and colours and is beginning to find a style of her own. The subjects she paints are based on her personal history, including childhood memories of collecting bush potatoes and other bush foods with her mother. She turns to her mother and her elder sister as constant points of reference for her paintings. Nina paints mainly about bush food and native medicine plants from her home country around Wittenoom and Tom Price as taught to her by her mother and father. Nina’s mother is a well-respected elder in the community and Nina is constantly talking to her mother about her country, drawing her inspiration from her. She also paints honey ants and bush ants, and although not part of her ancestral country, she likes to paint sea turtles as she derives so much joy from watching them. Nina’s work has quickly proven to be very popular – a great achievement in such a short time.

Solo Exhibitions

2011 Yinjaa-Barni Art Solo Exhibition, Chalk Horse Gallery, Surry Hills, Sydney

Group Exhibitions

2010 Colours of Our Country, Rio Tinto, Perth, WA

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